Questions about the extension of the certificate requirement
From 20 September there is a certificate requirement for all activities that take place within the framework of the university, regardless of the number of participants.
Does this mean that masks are no longer required in lecture halls, seminar rooms, etc.?
No. In addition to the certificate requirement, the University is maintaining the mask requirement until further notice. The University will not monitor compliance with the certificate requirement across the board, but instead by means of random checks. For the safety of students and lecturers, masks will therefore continue to be compulsory in the University's interior spaces. Therefore, the full capacities of the rooms can be utilized.
Why was it decided to extend the certificate requirement?
The pandemic is not over yet. People are dying of COVID every day, and it is by no means just elderly people or those with pre-existing conditions. In addition, our medical infrastructure, nurses, and doctors are overburdened. The longer the pandemic lasts, the longer we are all affected, have to be quarantined, or are restricted. The University wants to fulfill the obligation it has to employees, students, and also society and help to find a way out of this situation as quickly as possible. Today, there are protective measures such as vaccination or tests, and we want to use them as widely as possible. In terms of university operations, it is also a matter of creating a certain normality for the benefit of students. After all, the overall quality of teaching is higher in person than in purely online options.
Doesn't the certificate obligation violate the basic right of access to education?
The University is not violating any rights. We respect fundamental rights as a matter of course and therefore offer digital alternatives for people who do not have a certificate.
I do not want to be vaccinated or tested. Can I stay away from in-person courses?
The certificate requirement does not mean that the attendance requirement is omitted for students without a certificate. For events with mandatory attendance (e.g. seminars or tutorials) students have to hold a certificate, i.e. unvaccinated persons have to be tested. In order to avoid problems for non-vaccinated persons, the university will offer the possibility of testing at three locations from October at the latest, after the free offer of the federal government will have ended. The university is considering whether internal testing sites can also be offered to assist. If a student is a person at risk, he/she must clarify this according to the information sheet (in German).
Who controls the certificates and how?
The University of Bern has developed a concept for sample control, which is currently being refined and adapted for this phase. Lecturers do not have to check; however, they can do so if necessary. The same applies for the Facility Services.
Can students get tested quickly before a lecture?
No, the University do not offer rapid tests. Only PCR tests from saliva samples are offered, as these are more reliable. These tests are valid for 72h within the university. Students and employees with a Unicard can get tested at three locations in the front, middle, and back of Länggasse from October at the latest, after the free testing scheme of the Swiss government will have come to an end.
Who pays for these tests?
The federal government will continue to cover the costs of serial mass tests (pooled tests) for the university sector beyond October 1. The tests are therefore free of charge for students and employees.
How long does it take until results are available?
Results are available after a maximum of 36 hours.
Do I need to pre-register for testing?
No. However, the possibility of pre-registration is currently being examined with the aim of being able to offer better planning.
Can I also get vaccinated at the test center?
No, there are vaccination sites for this purpose.
Is the certificate issued at the university a "full" certificate with which I can also go to restaurants or travel abroad?
No, it is a so-called "certificate light" and is only valid within the University. It is marked accordingly. However, other official certificates are also valid at the University.
Which foreign COVID certificates are recognized by Switzerland?
Switzerland recognizes all certificates from the EU/ Schengen area that are issued according to the specifications of the "EU Digital COVID Certificate". For certificates from other countries, recognition may be possible.
What applies in the cafeterias?
The operator's safety concept applies in these areas. The ZFV will introduce a general certificate requirement in cafeterias and canteens as of 13.09.21. Outdoor areas and take out are excluded. Further information on the ZFV website.
What applies at UniSport?
There is a certificate requirement for participation in UniSport programs.
What applies to libraries?
Masks must be worn when borrowing items. Certificates are required for entering reading rooms and attending events.
Has the general obligation to wear masks on University premises now been lifted?
No. Until further notice, masks are compulsory in all interior spaces of the university.
Are employees without a certificate now still allowed in the workplace?
Yes, nothing has changed. However, masks are still mandatory.
As a superior, may I, should I, must I check the certificate of my employees?
You may do so within the framework of a protection concept. The decision is up to the superior.
Do events with external participation outside of teaching still require a permit from the General Secretariat?
No, but certificates are compulsory and masks are also compulsory indoors.
How is it verified that everyone who attends a meeting has a certificate?
The University of Bern relies, in principle, on the statements and personal responsibility of the participants. However, random checks will be carried out.
Is there an obligation to report someone if I notice that they do not have a certificate and still attend a meeting?
No, but the person in question must leave the room, and must also be prepared for disciplinary or legal consequences.
Isn't it delicate with regard to privacy if I have to declare whether I am certified?
No, this is already standard for many events and employers.
Does the recommendation to work from home still apply to everyone?
Yes, where reasonable and possible, in consultation with superiors.
Can employees with a certificate go into the office?
In consultation with supervisors, everyone can currently go into the office. Wearing masks at the workplace can only be dispensed with if all those present have a certificate and the distance of 1.50 meters is maintained. Employees who do not have a valid certificate must wear masks in the workplace. Meetings can be physically conducted if all participants have a Covid certificate. In-person participation in meetings, discussions, etc. without a valid certificate is not allowed.
What about those who do not have a certificate but must work on site (for example, facilities services, cleaning staff, workshops)?
These employees must wear masks during work and keep a distance of 1.50 meters.
Does the certificate requirement apply to common coffee breaks?
The rules for the office apply to all premises of the University.
Does a certificate requirement also apply in laboratories?
Wearing a mask at the workplace can only be dispensed with if all those present have a certificate and a distance of 1.50 meters is maintained. Employees who do not have a valid certificate must wear a mask at the workplace.
If I am a university employee and have to attend a face-to-face meeting and do not have a certificate, will I be paid for the test?
In principle, no. But it is possible to get tested for free.
Can supervisors require employees to attend in-person meetings and be tested?
Does the certificate requirement also apply to meetings in pairs?
In principle, yes.
Does the certificate requirement also apply to meetings of university associations (SUB, choir, fraternities, etc.)?
Yes, on the premises of the university and if they are not independent organizations, and part of the university.